Do’s and Don’ts Of Driving A Private-Hire Car In Singapore – What This Means For Grab and Uber Drivers

After parliament passed the Road Traffic Act (RTA) amendments on 7 February 2017, the Singapore Land Transport of Authority (LTA) announced that private-hire car drivers from companies like Uber and Grab would be required to obtain a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational License (PDVL) – similar to taxi drivers who hold a Taxi Driver’s Vocational License (TVDL). Now bounded by the same regulations taxi drivers are, the licensing framework aims to facilitate enforcement against unregistered cars providing private-hire car services, and private-hire cars that commit offences such as picking up passengers via street-hailing.


What Exactly Is The Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational License (PDVL) and the Eligibility Criteria Of Those Regulated By It?                                        

The compulsory course will equip private-hire car drivers providing chauffeured services with knowledge on the rules and regulations, service quality as well as general safety and has been designed to facilitate both self-study (2 hours) and classroom coaching (8 hours) within a structured learning framework. A PDVL is not required if a private hire car is used for self-drive purposes, however. Therefore, car-pooling services such as GrabHitch and Ryde, which allow drivers to fetch passengers for a fee on a cost recovery basis will be exempted from the licensing framework.

– Drivers who wish to provide private hire car services are to send in an application form to LTA, and a non-refundable $40 application fee will be imposed.

– Applicants must hold a Class 3/3A driving licence which has been valid for a continuous period of at least two years at the point of applying for the PDVL.

– All applicants are also required to undergo a medical examination and will be subject to background checks.

– Applicants who are not Singapore citizens, such as Singapore Permanent Residents and Foreign Work Pass holders, must be employees of a company providing chauffeured services in order to be eligible for the PDVL.

– As for Singapore citizens, they can apply for a PDVL as a self-employed driver.

– Once LTA has received and processed the application, applicants will be notified to register for the 10-hour PDVL course with the Singapore Taxi Academy.

– Drivers employed by traditional chauffeured services companies may be exempted from the PDVL course if their companies’ in-house training programmes meet LTA’s requirements.

People who have committed extremely serious offences – such as rape, murder or kidnapping – are barred from obtaining a PDVL. Meanwhile, those who have committed less serious offences – for example, housebreaking – will be banned for a number of years from the date of their conviction. Following this, their applications will be considered if they have reformed. Those who have not committed offences which are deemed to be a danger to the physical safety of the public – such as forgery – will not be banned. LTA explained the move as a calibrated approach to strike a balance between giving ex-offenders an opportunity to pursue a career as a private-hire car driver while ensuring the safety of passengers.

To ease the transition to the new vocational licensing regime, private hire car drivers whose applications reached LTA by 30 June 2017 will have up to one year to attend and pass the PDVL course. During this one-year transitional period, they can continue providing private hire car services. However, applicants whose applications reached LTA after 30 June 2017 must obtain a PDVL before they can provide private hire car services. These drivers will also be subjected to a Vocational Licence Points System (VLPS) available on LTA’s official website. ( )


 Private-Hire Car Drivers Required To Display Licence or Tamper-Evident Decals On Windscreens As Of July 2017                                       

In addition to having obtained a PDVL, private-hire car drivers are also required to display a tamper-evident decal on the front and back windscreens of their private hire cars as of 1 July 2017. Those who do not display the decals, or tamper with them in any way, are guilty of an offence under the Road Traffic Act. Decals which are damaged must be replaced at any Authorised Inspection Centre within 3 calendar days. The decals are also not transferrable across vehicles, and cannot be removed unless the vehicles are no longer chauffeured private-hire cars. It will be an offence under the Road Traffic Act to:

– Tamper with the decals, including reattaching the decals which have already been tampered with;

– Remove the decals when the vehicles are still registered as chauffeured private hire cars; or

– Provide, or permitting to be provided, chauffeured services with a tampered decals or without decals.

As of July 2017, about 42,000 chauffeured private-hire cars had been affixed with the tamper-evident decals, meant to allow commuters to easily identify registered cars and facilitate ground enforcement against errant drivers.


An Offence Under The Road Traffic Act                                                        

In its most recently highlighted case, LTA reports that twenty-three drivers were caught obscuring or altering decals that mark their vehicles as private-hire cars or driving private-hire cars without them.

Another four were caught driving without a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) or concession letter that allows them to provide chauffeured services while awaiting confirmation of the licence. Such offenders may have their PDVL revoked, or their concession letter was withdrawn and their existing licence applications rejected.

First-time offenders could be fined up to $1,000, jailed up to three months, or both. The punishment goes up to $2,000 and six months for repeat offenders. Meanwhile, those who provide services without a PDVL or a concession letter from the LTA could be fined up to $500, jailed up to three months, or both.


How We Can Help

Often, many of us may break these rules unknowingly and get into trouble. At I.R.B. Law LLP, we believe that everyone deserves fair representation. We firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Our team of experienced lawyers are able to help you present your case before the Courts.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you may need legal assistance, please contact us at or 6589 8913 to schedule an appointment with us today!

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